Opening remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO 2030 Youth Summit
“NATO2030: your future, your freedom, your alliance”
Thank you so much Laura.
And many thanks to the Munich Security Conference for organising the NATO 2030 Youth Summit with us today.
You are an outstanding platform for addressing future security challenges.
Good afternoon Europe.
And good morning North America!
Let me start by congratulating Joe Biden on his election as the next president of the United States.
And Kamala Harris as the next Vice President.
I have worked with Joe Biden for many years, and I know him as a strong supporter of NATO and the transatlantic relationship.
A strong NATO is good for Europe.
And good for North America.
And I look forward to working very closely with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris
to further strengthen the cooperation between North America and Europe in the years to come.
When NATO Leaders last met they asked me to lead a reflection.
On how to make our strong Alliance even stronger.
And fit for the future.
That is why I am holding this Youth Summit NATO 2030 today.
Because NATO 2030 is about your future.
And your Alliance.
When I was your age, I grew up in Norway,
and my views and values were shaped by the world around me.
We lived under the shadow of the Cold War.
And the threat of nuclear attack.
But we felt safe.
Because we were part of an Alliance.
And trusted that our friends in NATO would always come to our aid.
One for all.
And all for one.
That solemn promise has kept NATO Allies safe for more than 70 years.
Today, NATO’s core mission continues.
Preserving the peace.
And deterring aggression.
On land, at sea, in the air.
In space and in cyber space.
From pandemics to infodemics.
Cyber-attacks to climate change.
Our world keeps on changing.
And NATO is changing with it.
So in a more uncertain world,
we need a strategy to deal with uncertainty.
In a more contested world,
we need a forum to settle our differences.
And in a more competitive world,
we need strength to tackle global challenges.
For all these reasons we need NATO.
And let me explain why.
First, if COVID-19 has shown us anything,
it is that our world is more unpredictable than ever before.
The only thing we can be certain of is uncertainty itself.
When I was asked to become NATO Secretary General in early 2014,
the world was a very different place.
Few had heard of ISIS.
And few predicted Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
Since then, Russia has continued its aggressive actions.
We have seen new levels of brutality from ISIS and other terrorists organizations.
And China has been asserting its economic and military weight on the world stage.
We do not always know what the next crisis will be.
But we do know that we are stronger together
In times of peace or conflict, it is good to have friends.
We have seen the value of our Alliance in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delivering much-needed medical aid.
And supporting civilian efforts to save lives.
In a more uncertain world, we need to strengthen international cooperation.
And the international institutions that uphold it, like NATO.
And we need to invest more in our collective defence.
To defend the right of each of us to live our lives in peace and freedom.
Second, in a more contested world, we need a forum for resolving our differences.
It is no secret that NATO Allies do not always see eye-to-eye.
We have had our differences in the past.
And we have them today.
NATO provides a platform to bring Allies together.
So when we disagree we can sit down together.
And solve our differences.
NATO is the only place that brings Europe and North America together.
NATO is the place to discuss, decide and act on issues that affect our shared security.
And that brings me to my final point.
That in a world of greater competition,
we need strength and solidarity to address global challenges.
Today’s security challenges go beyond national borders.
They cannot be addressed by any country alone.
Not even the biggest.
Whether we are talking about the rise of China, or climate change.
The spread of nuclear weapons, or cyber attacks and disinformation.
When we speak as one, our voice is louder.
When we decide and act together,
our words and actions are 30 Allies strong.
NATO brings together almost one billion people.
Half of the world’s economic and military might.
We also have a network of like-minded partners around the world.
From Finland and Sweden.
To Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
So as we face even greater global competition,
we must work even more closely together,
to defend our values and way of life.
And to strengthen the global norms and institutions
that have kept us safe and strong for decades.
Faced with a more uncertain, contested and competitive world,
we need a strategy to deal with uncertainty,
a forum for resolving our differences,
and the strength to tackle global challenges.
And that is why we need NATO.
For the next decade.
You – tomorrow’s leaders, both in North America and Europe- have the greatest stake in our security.
So NATO 2030 is the chance for you to step up.
And safeguard your future.
Now is the time for you to share your views and tell us your ideas.
So welcome to the NATO 2030 Youth Summit!
INTRODUCING THE NATO 2030 YOUNG LEADERS
I am actually very delighted to be able to present the NATO 2030 Young Leaders group today. And I appointed the group because I wanted them to help me, to assist me, in making sure that NATO is fit for the future, so I’m very much looking forward to their ideas, to their proposals, and I am extremely grateful that they are all joining us today.